Flight is one of the standout shows at the Edinburgh International Festival. It is a theatre show like no other and is original in its form and approach to visual storytelling. The play is an adaptation of the novel Hinterland by Caroline Brothers. The text was interpreted by playwright Oliver Emanuel and was brought to life by Glasgow based theatre company Vox Motus. Caroline Brothers and Oliver Emanuel are appearing at the Edinburgh International Book Festival to discuss the adaptation and to give an insight on how the unique theatre production came to life.
The event begins by Caroline reading an extract from Hinterland. Here we are introduced to the two young protagonists and the border guards who make their journey a very difficult and almost impossible task. The story is centred around two refugees boys, who go on an journey from the Middle East and across Europe. Caroline is a journalist and used the stories she uncovered in her reports as an influence for Hinterland. She mentions that she created composite characters based on the young children that she encounters in Calais.
For adapting the book to the stage Oliver Emanuel states that “we wanted to create something fresh. Something new.” He mentions that with Flight he wanted to get the audience involved in the story and this was the driving force behind the unique interpretation. Oliver goes on to mention that “for me adaptation is an art-form in itself” and that he needed some freedom to interpret the work in order to present the mammoth journey of the characters. Caroline clearly enjoyed seeing her writing represented in such a novel and expressive way and felt vindicated by having Hinterland re-imagined as Flight.
The event this afternoon is part of the Playing with Books strand of the Edinburgh International Book Festival. This programme has looked at literature in the terms of performance and has presented many exciting events over the course of the festival. Hopefully this strand will return next year to highlight the many ways in which performance and literature can work together on the stage.